Research Facilities

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Our Center is well equipped to pursue a diverse array of research projects. The facilities and equipment encompass all facets of photovoltaic research, fabrication, and characterization including: manufacturing of all types of PV materials (CIGS, CdTe, Si, Perovskites, transparent conductors, transport layers); electron and specialized microscopy; balance of systems research; spectroscopy, luminescence, X-ray and electron scattering characterization; electrochemistry and electronic transport studies; and big data research.

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The University of Texas at Austin

UT Austin has  an  extensive  network  of  comprehensive facilities for specialized materials fabrication and analysis, including HRTEM, dual beam SEM/FIB, E-beam lithography, XPS, SAXS, XRD, HRSEM distributed among the Texas Materials Institute (TMI; http://tmi.utexas.edu/core-facilities/), the Microelectronics Research Center (MRC;  www.mrc.utexas.edu/nnin.html), the Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology (CNM;  http://www.cnm.utexas.edu/facility.html) and the Texas Advanced  Computing Center (TACC;  http://www.tacc.utexas.edu/resources/). 

Colorado State University

CSU has been  at  the  forefront  of  CdTe  photovoltaic  manufacturing  technology  development  since  1991. The Materials Engineering Laboratory (MEL; http://www.engr.colostate.edu/me/facil/mel/) has numerous pieces of equipment and processes have been developed for synthesis and testing of photovoltaic devices including  Accelerated Lifetime Testing (ALT) of devices, device characterization including dark JV, light JV, CV, CF, TAS, TID, PHCAP etc. The Advanced Deposition System (ADS) provides a process-flexible, customizable test bed for producing complete devices on 3” by 3” or smaller substrates.

Texas A&M University

TAMU’s balance of systems research facilities include state of the art power electronics and balance of systems (BOS) equipment. This includes over 150kVA of dedicated 3-phase 208V and 480V standard ac power as well as up to 54kVA of fully programmable 3-phase ac power grid emulator. Multiple solar array simulator (SAS) result in the ability to test end-to end a complete PV electrical system. TAMU is also developing a 50 MW solar field for research to develop early-stage technologies in solar power.

TAMU also has PV characterization equipment available in the Materials Characterization Facility including microscopy, surface, thermal and spectroscopic analysis (http://mcf.tamu.edu/instruments/).

Texas A&M University - Central Texas

TAMUCT houses the solar characterization lab with high end microscopy and spectroscopic tools for evaluation of the luminescent properties of photovoltaics including cathodoluminescence (CL), electron beam induced current (EBIC), photoluminescence (PL) and electroluminescence (EL). TAMUCT is also the home of the big data solar energy lab.

Texas A&M University at Qatar

Texas A&M University has a branch campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar. This location makes it easily accessible for companies in the Europe, Middle East, African and Asia regions of the world. The central facilities, which include a central electronics shop, central materials facility and central machines shop, support the research activities within the university as well as provide technical services to industry, government and academic partners.

 

Texas A&M at Qatar facilities provide materials and services including 3D printing, electronic and printed circuit board prototyping, material characterization and machining in facilities certified to the prestigious ISO 9001:2015 International Standard by the British Standards Institution (BSI Group). The campus also hosts supercomputer facilities: https://www.qatar.tamu.edu/researchcomputing/supercomputing/systems.

Arizona State University

ASU houses the PV Reliability Lab (ASU-PRL) which has more than 20 years of track record to secure and successfully execute sponsored projects funded by DOE, NREL, Sandia, EPRI, electric utility companies and private companies, performing research involving reliability testing using accelerated testing and outdoor field tests to characterize modules, cells and
materials, and to develop stress and statistical models predicting lifetime of PV modules.

 

Accelerated testing capabilities include: three walk-in environmental chambers; one walk-in UV weathering chamber for UV weathering of commercial size PV modules; one small weathering chamber for UV weathering of coupons; two PID test setups; four ovens for static temperature stresses; one indoor soiling chamber. Outdoor testing capabilities include: Two 2-axis trackers; one 1-axis tracker; several fixed tilt racks; weather stations; three soiling stations; mock rooftop; several data acquisition systems with online monitoring capabilities; power quality analyzer; two multi-curve I-V tracers; three single-curve I-V tracers; AOI identifier; SunEye. Module characterization tools include: Cell QE at the module level for QE loss determination after repeated accelerated/field stresses; electroluminescence; infrared; handheld reflectance/transmittance spectrometer (350-2500 nm); handheld FTIR for indoor and outdoor; dark I-V; module laminator; semi-automated cell tabber and stringer; dryhipot and wet-resistance testers. Cell characterization tools include: Indoor solar simulator for dark and light I-V; cell QE; four-probe resistance tester; cell component extraction (mechanical and chemical). Materials characterization tools include: Differential scanning calorimeter (DSC); thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA); water vapor transmission rate (WVTR); universal mechanical/peel tester; thermal conductivity tester for polymeric materials/sheets. Modeling capabilities include stress, statistical and image processing models/tools; a full suite of ReliaSoft software; Minitab, Tableau, SAS, JMP, MATLAB and OriginPro.